Thursday, August 07, 2008

On Monday, August 4, we Albertans observed Heritage Day. So what better way to celebrate my heritage than to spin? At Heritage Park, of course!

Heritage Park is home to some of Fort McMurray's historically significant buildings, barges and machinery, and each year they host a family-oriented event on Heritage Day. There are kids' games, ethnic food booths, a dunk tank and pony rides--lots of fun stuff! So I was thrilled to be invited to demonstrate spinning in a historical setting.

I was given space inside the Nistawayou Building, which is an original trapper and trader's cabin from the early 1900's. I had a wolf pelt and some beaver claws for company--or competition! (Some of the kids were pretty interested in the pelts and traps and couldn't care less about some lady making yarn!)
I set up a bit of a display of handspun items along with some raw fleece and a few tools, then sat down to spin. I worked with the fibre that was left over from the learn-to-spindle kits, spinning woollen. Then I just spun and chatted with people for 6 hours. My idea of the perfect day.

I heard some wonderful stories of grandmothers and mothers who used to spin. I heard stories of childhoods spent carding for grannie. I heard a story from a Chinese woman whose family had spun for a weaving factory in Hong Kong and who had learned to spin before she could even remember. I chatted with a man from India about the charkas the women used in his village back home. I heard the story of the woman who had gone to a convent school and learned to spin and weave there. I learned far more about the heritage of the craft than I could ever had taught my visitors, and I made 3 skeins of pretty swell yarn!

Nice cushy chunky-weight woollen yarns--150g of the Opal and 100g of the Jade. Probably some woolly winter hats, eventually.
Lots more is getting done, too. I have the handouts for Gibsons all ready to go, I've finished the knitting on my Phoenix sweater and just have the side seams to finish, I've plied up some orange 3-ply woollen for mittens, and I have the mohair scarf all finished and sent off. All in all, not a bad showing for my week.
Just one more week before I head west for Gibsons and still much to be tracking down that missing package of blended tops. Hmmmmm...where could they be?
I guess I'm off to hunt them down!